I have a lot of babies. Including a set of twins. I was HUGE. In fact, even during my c-section for my twins, the OB commented on how separated my abdominal muscles were. Dude, unless you intend to fix it, then you don’t get to talk about it. He didn’t. Fix it, that is. And I kept having babies. Three more after the twins. I was brutal to my abs. As it turns out, regular ab exercises only make this separation worse. In fact, I did Jullian Michael’s 30 day shred. For 21 days. Not 30. I was elated with the progress during stage one. However, stage two involved a lot of planking exercises. These are the single worst possible thing a person can do in my situation. After a week of doing stage two, my separation was worse than it had ever been. So I quit. It was a valid excuse to shun Jillian the sadist. I was happy to bid her farewell. That was about a year ago. I talked to someone heavily involved in CrossFit (her husband OWNS a gym). They don’t really have anything to specifically address a separation, so would probably do the same thing to me as Jillian.
I had done some research and had come across Julie Tupler. She’s an RN who has developed a tecnique for repairing a diastasis separation. I was interested, but just wasn’t sure I wanted to spend $90 on it. Well, I’m so disgusted with my belly, that I bit the bullet and just did it. My only regret so far is that I waited a year to do this. It’s amazing!! Well, so amazing in fact, it brings to light a second regret. I didn’t take a before picture in time.
There are four steps to her program. Specific ab exercises that actually help instead of hurt (well, they hurt….no pain, no gain, right? But they don’t “hurt” the separation as in make it worse); splinting the muscles with a stretchy binder; learning to use the transverse muscles instead of the rectus muscles; learning how to get up and move properly so that the connective tissue is not reinsured. The kit I purchased includes the splint/binder thing, a DVD, and a booklet with charts to track progress.
I got the package on Friday. I put the splint on. Incorrectly. Watch the YouTube video. It’s really not intuitive and you need to be shown. Anyway, I wore it, wrongly, for a couple of hours. I loved how it pulled in my belly bulge but it was really uncomfortable. Naturally so, since I was wearing it backwards. Well, I took it off as soon as I got back home from a few errands. Didn’t do anything with it Saturday. Saturday night, I decided, I spent this money, I need to at least give it a try. So, Sunday, I applied the binder, correctly this time, since I’d viewed the video. I decided I’d start the exercises Monday, since the charts in the booklet start on Monday. By Sunday evening, I was sick of the thing. I’m short waisted and it kept rolling from the top and bottom. I was constantly adjusting it. So I took it off. When I did, I noticed my tummy looked quite a bit flatter, so I decided to measure. Now, the instructions tell me to be sure and measure before in three places – just under the breasts, at the waist and around the belly button (which is actually NOT your waist, despite what currently low waisted fashion trends try and convince us of). I’m certain you can guess what happened here. I’m so awesome at NOT following instructions until after I’ve flubbed something up first. I did have to measure at the belly button to place my order because I needed to know what size splint to order. So I had that measurement. It was 38 1/2 inches. So gross, right? That’s on the big end of a great HIP measurement. Well, that’s what it was and that’s why I decided I needed to do something about this. So, Sunday evening, after I took the splint off, I measured. I was down 2 1/2 inches to a 36! Unbelievable! And let me stress Sunday EVENING!!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always at my biggest in the evening, after I’ve been eating. So I decided to measure again Monday morning. Another 1/2 inch, gone. I did not wear the splint over night, and you’re supposed to. More great following of directions. I will from now on, I promise. So, after wearing the splint for only 10 hours and not even doing the exercises, I’m down 3 inches. And it’s obviously too late to take a real before picture. I’ll go ahead and take one later today anyway.
I started the exercises today. Wow. Major burning in my abs. And I only did half what I was supposed to. I decided to take a coffee break and blog about it before jumping into the next set. So I’ll get started on that here in a minute. What I like about them is that I can do them anytime I’m sitting. I can get in a few at a red light, while I’m sitting watching TV, or while I’m at work sitting at charting. Nurses spend a lot of time charting. I’ll have no excuse to not do these exercises. They are much like Kegals, but for the belly. Huh. I should probably get on those Kegals, too. Because, after all, I’ve had a lot of babies.
I have to give up swimming, at least for a while. Anything that is done prone is damaging to the connective tissue between the rectus muscles. It allows the weight of internal organs to rest on that tissue, stretching it. I’m hoping that maybe after a few months, my transverse will be strong enough to allow me to swim with a splint. In the mean time, I have to figure something else out for aerobic exercise because I have about 20 pounds to dump. Maybe some power walking. Can’t run. Bad knees. I used to play soccer.
I’ll try and post a weekly update as to how things are going.